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The third in a series of five readings from the publication Six Scripts for Not I which features commissioned pieces by Darby English, Amy Gerstler, Sarah Kessler, Christina Catherine Martinez, and Alan Page Arriaga. Here, Sarah Kessler reads from \"The Politics of Involuntarity: A Personal History of Ventriloquism.\"

Sarah Kessler is a media scholar and television critic. Her articles and essays have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Camera Obscura, Film Quarterly, In These Times, Theory and Event, Triple Canopy, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her book-in-progress, Anachronism Effects, examines the politics of voice and ventriloquism in transatlantic popular culture. Kessler is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern California. She edits the TV section of the online magazine Public Books.


About the Exhibition Not I: Throwing Voices (1500 BCE–2020 CE)

Ventriloquism relies on the confusion between sight and hearing, puppeteer and puppet, silence and speech. Issues of agency, authorship, and objecthood are at the core of even the most conventional ventriloquist sketch: Where is the voice coming from? How is that voice split into many bodies? Who is speaking on behalf of whom? Using this popular form of entertainment as a guide, the exhibition stages dialogues across LACMA’s collections, focusing on the misdirection of voice, silence, and sounds. Ventriloquism—objects forced to speak on behalf of an entire culture, age, or region—resonates within the history and logic of institutions devoted to the dissemination of knowledge such as libraries and museums.

Learn more about the exhibition at:
https://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/not-i-throwing-voices-1500-bce-2020-ce

A copy of the accompanying publication, Six Scripts for NOT I, can be purchased here:
https://www.thelacmastore.org/collections/not-i-throwing-voices-1500-bce-2020-ce/products/six-scripts-for-not-i-lacma-exhibition-catalogue

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About LACMA
Located on the Pacific Rim, LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 140,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. Committed to showcasing a multitude of art histories, LACMA exhibits and interprets works of art from new and unexpected points of view that are informed by the region’s rich cultural heritage and diverse population. LACMA’s spirit of experimentation is reflected in its work with artists, technologists, and thought leaders as well as in its regional, national, and global partnerships to share collections and programs, create pioneering initiatives, and engage new audiences.

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